Errata Literary Magazine

Bucks County Writers Workshop

"There ain't no money in poetry -- and that's what sets the poet free."

No. 5

What distinguishes a poem from prose? The answer to this question, of course, goes well beyond an academic investigation of form and structure. Instead, the answer lies in the origin of the creative act itself: the poetic intent.

Why, after all, write a poem in the first place? Why choose this form of communication over a short story or an essay?

A partial answer to this quandary can be found in Irish poet Eavan Boland's preface to her collection of poems, titled An Origin Like Water. At this stage in her life, Boland writes, she has come to regard her poems "as a forceful engagement between a life and language." After all, the success of a poem, much more so than other forms of fiction, relies on the poet's ability to charge language with new meaning.

But that is only half the answer. Poetry is also more deeply human than any other medium: affording the writer the truest voice, the most immediate correspondence with the human spirit. In this way, each poem becomes a dialogue between the poet's interior past and the extant present; an exterior discourse, a direct connection, between the poet's soul and the work's intended audience.

It's this intent to enter into an open and complex emotional dialogue with other human beings that sets poetry apart from other forms of fiction or prose. Writing a good poem is a much different, and a much more frank task, than, say, telling a compelling story. This vulnerability is the essence of poetry. As Carl Dennis states in his book, Poetry as Persuasion: "a poem promises contact with a speaker whose discourse the reader finds engaging and revealing."

I hope you enjoy this latest installment of the poetry corner. It is by far the richest serving to date.

Kurt Krumpholz

This simple contemplation of the human form speaks of both admiration and a subverted eroticism.

The Narcissist
Albert M. Honig

Pectoralis majors
Sculptured like
Michelangelo's David,
Meet bulging biceps and
Lathe like triceps with its
Deltoid umbrella. While
Lattisimus dorsi form a
perfect triangle. He
struts the floor like
Superman. A huge peacock
with head too small for
it's colorful body. A
muscle shirt drapes this
magnificence probably
pumped up by steroids.
He wears white pajama pants
with geometric patterns and
drawstring pursed. All framed by
a weightlifters leather belt.
With the groan of iron and
the accent of aerobics, he
allures only men with
equal muscle. Women
sense danger, move away
as do insects when sprayed
with insect repellent.

Confronting nature's enigmas can bring into sharper focus the enchantment of "this fancy moment" we are always floating in.

Wilma Desiato

In this fancy moment the evergreens
Have blossomed.
The flakes in the branches
Are the spring's blossoms.
After all it is March.
Suddenly the wind blows
And the white flurries fly around
Like petals in a parade.
As they touch my face
They melt in the artificial tears
Of this artificial moment.

A similar theme is addressed in this poem: the eternal consciousness of nature.

A Perfect Rose
Connie Wrzesniewski

The petals of soft velvet
Consumed my tears as a child,
Enfolding me as your arms did,
When you looked down and smiled.

The gentle dew that kisses
Your patient hazel eyes,
Reflects the love within this
Fragile bloom, through years grown wise.

She reaches for the heavens
With outstretched honesty,
Perfect in her innocence,
Blooming full for all to see.

The lovely fragrance of her voice,
As it settles in the air,
Bespeaks her elegant poise,
Your willingness to share.

She trumpets out your beauty,
Refined through lack of thorn.
She sings of love and duty,
You shower on those you've borne.

And when the day is closing,
The sun has gone to rest,
The rose is still enduring,
Drenched in moonlight, at her best.

A song dedicated to the organic nature of love.

Kurt Krumpholz

After all this time, I wonder, what it is that has kept
the engine of this small machine running? Is it merely
the cold desire to survive? Is it more than a blind belief
in a vision that will not dissipate with the morning light?

If I have paid my penance for all the dark moments,
then surely you are the sun in my brooding arctic night,
sliding gently across the horizon after an interminable absence;
a nimbus of copper light calling me to emerge.

How fitting then this day should mark each year
a triumphant opening; the papery wisteria blossoms
clustered like grapes on the arbor, the first fern uncoiling
its tenuous arms, the outstretched vine twisting upward from its stem.

Let us celebrate then the warmth of trust that disentangles
the heart. Who we once were is irretrievable. Let us mark instead
the unfolding self that flies forth on powdery wings. Do you
remember once coddling the dank root of this union in your hand?

Are we too far along to say our dreams have yet to ripen?

Who among us is not beguiled by this obsession?

Carolyn Merlini

Love and passion line up
In this red-light emporium.
Sultry and bold,
Alarming and demure
They call out
And pose,
Entreating hands to
Come and touch,
"Come. Come to me," called out
In silent appeal.
Words flash,
Enticing phrases tease, turned
To trigger a response and
A purchase.
"Pick me. Pick me up."
The volume overwhelms,
I am hooked.
And so I make a choice
And make my way home
With a new companion.
The bedside lamp glows,
Hands part covers.
Anticipation, as I turn
To the first page:
A new seduction begins.

What attracts me to this piece is the poet's ability to fully capture a moment with just a few bold brush stokes.

Jules Winistorfer

A cat stomps its feet on plush carpet
The hung-over man grimaces
Asking why the feline is so loud

Unnoticed beneath a heavy crumb
An ant drags its twiggy feet across ceramic tile
With the screech of chalk grating on a blackboard

Caught in soft updraft
Downy-tufted milkweed seeds collide in violent discord
Rousting night creatures from their daytime lairs

Blades of spring weeds scissor in the wind
Rough edge against rough edge
Making harsh raspy sounds

Near a rotted tree stump
Easy gusts pound bluebells together
In clangorous syncopation

A water slider's slender legs thrash the glassen surface
Sending wet sound waves into an otherwise
Stifling still afternoon

In electrified stentorian voice
The firefly calls to its mate
Stilling the cicada from its appointed rounds

From outside the window
Silky catkins of pussy willow buffet cool autumn glass
With ear splitting thumps

Torn from its branch by a gentle breeze
A winter leaf slams to the ground
The earth resounds from its impact

In loud cacophony
Myriad insects pad toward winter dying places
Caring not if they are heard

A simple and very sensual confession to the power of flesh.

Rock Song
John Scioli

She glanced at me with freckled face
And black mascara eyes
She brushed against my wary house
On her way to paradise.

I saw within her freckled face
The trade of light for heat
From where the windows open wide
Upon the crowded street.

I sad discerned a hapless ridge
On that once virgin face
Too clearly marked around the eyes
The mask of fresh disgrace.

The fantasies of rock hard nights
And sighing thigh to thigh
There written for the world to read
Like soot against the sky.

Her face, the sky, my house, the street
We grieved her blackened eyes
And prayed as she walked by the house
On her way to paradise.

A pointillist's stark portrait of violence.

Business as Usual
Alan Shils

Weapon cycles
Primer detonates
Powder burns
Bullet exits

Flesh rips
Vessels split
Bones fragment
Neurons burst
Body falls.

Who knows.
Who cares.
Good person?
Bad person?
Who frets.
Dead is

Soul hitchhikes
Thumbs headlights.
Eighteen wheels
Light radiates
Chrome reflects
Diesel spews
Speed's unlimited
Stops on dime.

Rig's & Driver's handle
Pulses red
Bubba's Drive-By
Bubba Beelzebub

"Hey, buddy!
Vicious day?
Wanna' lift?
I'm haulin'
Winchester to Wyoming
Colt to Colorado
Ruger to Rhode Island
Uzi to Utah
Smith & Wesson to
South Carolina & Wisconsinv Gotta keep the customers satisfied!"

Bubba howls
Tires screech
Treads shred.
My deal's
You're mine
I'm yours."
Soul's reason
Disabled accepts.

"Welcome my-man!"
Bubba smirks
Death drips.
Gear shifts
First to nth
Direct! Rig flies
Light blazes
Chrome accelerates
Smoke belches
Speed spirals

Bubba whoops
Unprovoked lead
Disintegrates children
and other
Living Things

Back Issues of the Poetry Page

Issue No. 4

Issue No. 3

Issue No. 2

Issue No. 1

Bucks County Writers Workshop